Just as tea has its traditions and variety, so does the pottery many of us use for preparing and enjoying that tea. We’re quite thankful for these potters who keep the old-time methods and looks alive. One such team is Janet and Mike Calhoun of Traditions Pottery in the North Carolina mountains just south of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Their teapot really caught my eye. It’s a “no nonsense” design clearly made to steep and serve tea yet has a lot of “eye appeal.” You tea guys out there will find it well suited to a more robust tea time.
Janet Calhoun is the 6th generation of a family of potters. She spent time in her grandfather’s pottery shop while her parents worked to create wonderful items. (Her grandfather was M.L. Owens, a well-known potter and a recipient of the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award.) She grew up playing with clay, and we’re not talking about the Play-Doh kind, and was throwing pots when she was as young as five. She worked other jobs for about 15 years while continuing to work with pottery and developing an identity all her own. Mike Calhoun came into the picture in 1986 when he married Janet and began throwing pots on the wheel. He focused on a really unique and traditional item called the face jug and makes Santas, Wizards, Clay Spirits, and Cry Babies, with his newest designs the hear, see, and speak no evil jugs.
Janet tends to recreate more traditional forms of pottery like her ancestors made and works on smaller pieces than Mike does. Teapots and what are called “Rebecca pitchers” are what she enjoys making most but makes other pieces according to what the customers want. She is committed to preserving designs that have been around for generations and that might otherwise be lost.
Traditions Pottery also makes dip chillers, cereal bowls with handles, plates for dinner and salad, candle holders, brie bakers, and goblets. The glazes are in cobalt blue and plum and red but also earthy tones and white and green. They use all lead-free glazes, something that potters started switching to in the 1970s and that was a bit of an adjustment from long-standing procedures. It makes their wares safe for use with foods and beverages.
I’m thinking that teapot would be perfect for a cozy tea time with a wonderful black Ceylon tea such as Sylvakandy Estate in it and slices of lemon meringue pie served up on their salad plates. Yum!
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